As part of this, they are also offering to help people if they wish to self-serve online at one of our dedicated computer terminals. It is hoped that this will give customers the confidence to access council services online in the future, at a place and time that is most convenient to them. If a face-to-face appointment is needed to see an officer, they will also arrange this for the customer. In addition to these improvements, the council has also reviewed its opening times and will be open from 9am to 5pm each day, apart from Thursdays when opening times will be from 10am to 5pm starting from 1 July 2021.

We continue to make improvements to our website all of the time. Going online is the most Covid-safe, quickest and most convenient way of accessing a whole range of services, including settling council tax or business rates bills, applying for parking permits, and signing up to services such as bulky waste collections or the Garden Recycling scheme, and many more. We have had some really positive comments from customers about our website and have seen a significant increase in its use since the pandemic began.

I also want to remind you that we are currently consulting on our revised Air Quality Action Plan, and this will end on 28 June. We're really keen to hear people's views on our suggestions to help continue improving air quality in our district. The proposal includes recommendations to continue some of the successful projects from the previous plan, as well as identifying new actions that could be taken if additional funding can be secured. To have your say and find out more, please visit: Let's Talk: Air Quality.

We also want to encourage any EU Citizen living in the district to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June if they haven't already done so. As we've previously mentioned, we have joined forces with Arun & Chichester Citizens Advice to make as many people aware of this as possible — including local employers and landlords. This is about protecting people's rights to healthcare, benefits and pensions — and so it is vitally important that anyone affected applies before the 30 June 2021 deadline by applying at:  EU Settlement Scheme . Arun & Chichester Citizens Advice are able to help with applications and they can be contacted free on 0808 2787969 (Mon to Fri 9am until 4.30pm). Access to interpreters is also available. We would really appreciate it if you could pass this message on to anyone who you believe may be affected by this.

Finally, I know that people are keen on all of the current coronavirus restrictions being lifted, but it is vital that we all continue to play our part and continue to follow Government guidance. We have seen a huge increase in infections in the North of the country and we're starting to see rates rise locally. It's important that we all continue to wash or sanitise our hands regularly, maintain social distancing, and wear a face covering where required. You can find out which restrictions remain in place by visiting: Covid-19 restrictions - what you can and cannot do .

At the moment, we are producing a weekly email newsletter, focusing on the very latest updates nationally and locally. You can sign up to this at: news alerts. When we reach Step 4 of the Government's lockdown, this will be distributed on a monthly basis and will focus on local news and services.

Thank you again for your ongoing support.

Diane Shepherd

Chief Executive of Chichester District Council